In 2014, Memphis magazine’s parent company, Contemporary Media, Inc., worked with First Tennessee Bank officials to produce The First 150: The First Tennessee Story, a book commemorating the bank’s 150th anniversary. This week, the Tennessee Historical Commission announced Contemporary Media as a 2015 Certificate of Merit winner in the Book/Public Programming category for the publication.
From the announcement: “Begun in 1975, The THC Certificate of Merit Awards recognize individuals, publications, projects, and programs that make significant contributions to the study of history and/or historic preservation efforts in our state. The Awards are presented each year during National Preservation Month.”
First Tennessee Bank — then known as First National Bank — was the first federally chartered bank in Memphis. The book documents the bank’s history, exploring the early years — from its inception in 1864 and its survival during tumultuous times — to 2014, 150 years later.
“It was certainly a challenge trying to tell the story of a Memphis business that had been a landmark here for 150 years,” says Michael Finger, Memphis senior editor and author of The First 150, “but as a history buff, it was really quite fascinating to uncover information from old annual reports from the 1930s, or even stacks of leather-bound ledgers from the 1800s. The historical resources were priceless.”
“In all modesty, I thought we did a nice job on the book,” says Finger. “It’s a real pat on the back that the Tennessee Historical Commission thought we did, too.”
To read more about the book, including excerpts, check out “First Tennessee Celebrates 150 Years” on insidememphisbusiness.com.